When we start a new business, the first steps we usually think about in terms of communication are: “I need a logo, a website, and a Facebook page”. Though those are good ideas, the question remains… Why? What are you really expecting from these media? Here, the communication strategy is meaningful.
You need exposure, a better reputation or to enhance your image. The objective is not to do the same as everyone else – e.g. :“they all have a Facebook page so I need one too”. Instead, think about your communication objectives. This is useless to put all your energy, time and money in irrelevant actions.
So… How does it work? How do you choose the proper media? How do you know what your targets are? Who do you need to talk to? What should you say to them?
Let’s see what the key points of an efficient communication strategy are.
What is the meaning of a communication strategy?
By definition, the communication strategy is a document made to align every communication on the same vision, values, and short or long-term objectives. A company can communicate in several ways – social media, website, advertising, packaging, visual identity… – whether it is explicit, implicit or even visual. What will your public think, perceive or feel?
Step 1: diagnosis
It is crucial to analyse objectively where your business stands. Consulting a communication expert might be relevant to insure an honest and objective analysis of your business situation.
What is your business? What products or services do you provide? Who are your current clients? What communication tools do you use? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Who are your competitors? In other words, diagnose your current business situation on every aspect.
This detailed analysis will raise strategic communication issues.>> For example, if you have many competitors your problematic could be “How to gain credibility in a wide competitive environment?”
Step 2: define targets
It seems obvious, but sometimes it is what we overlook the most. Who am I talking to? Who are my clients/consumers? Who are my targets? Even if I have a dream communication budget, what is the point if I am not speaking to the right people?
There are 3 major groups of targets:
- Primary targets: your potential buyers
- Core targets: focus on a part of your primary targets with a strong potential
- Secondary targets: influencers, advertisers, journalists, bloggers, youtubers, brand ambassadors…
Your targets segmentation is defined by different criteria such as geographic, demographic, socioeconomic, lifestyle, values, needs, demands, purchasing behaviour… Why not using persona to have a better understanding of your target? Personas are imaginary characters that represent the best a profile type of your targets.
Find out more soon with a new article about personas and targets segmentation.
Step 3: define your objectives
This step is probably the most important. The objectives you will define here are the guiding thread of all your future communications. Where do you want to go? What do you want to become?
There are 3 major goal groups:
- Cognitive goal: gain exposure, visibility, credibility…
- Affective goal: make people like what you propose/represent, create a community…
- Behaviour goal: encourage action, increase audience engagement, get more clients…
It is crucial to have a good definition of all your objectives so that they are clear and realistic.
- Measurable: what do you want to achieve? How long will it take? Be specific with numbers
- Feasible: Is it realistic? You can be ambitious, but you need to fixe reachable objectives
- Commitment: measuring the necessary investment (human or financial)
Step 4: your positioning and values
Take the time to define your values and identity. What do you want the world to perceive about your business?
If we ask “Who are you?” What will you answer? “I am David, 30 years old, business owner”. Your identity is not just your function but also your values, your beliefs, your passions. “I’m David, 30 years old, ambitious business owner, passionate about traveling, I want to have a positive impact on our society.” Let’s do the same with your business: what are your key values? How do you stand out? What makes you appealing and credible? What more can you bring to your clients?
Step 5: draw up your communications plan
Once all these steps are done, let’s be more practical. Link every communication action with one or more of your goals. For example, my goal is to gain exposure so I will create a website to present what I do.
For each chosen media, link a goal and the target, define the budget, timing, frequency of publication, what you want to say, how to convey your values, and how you will analyze results and evaluate the return on investment (ROI).
The strategy has been completed, let’s move on?
“Here we are, the strategy is done after hours of deep thinking. May I put it in a drawer and move on?”
Your business is constantly progressing and the strategy must progress with it. A communication strategy is not static. On the contrary, it always has to be in line with who you are, what you want to do, and where you want to go. So no! We are not putting it away. We show it. We meditate it. We keep it preciously, and most of all, we make it evolve with our business.
My advice: clearly display your values, missions and goals in your workplace. In this way, your co-workers will see them every day and will feel more involved with your vision.
Do you feel a bit lost? You don’t have enough time for your communication strategy? Contact Salted Limón, our communication Agency. They will lead you towards a successful communication.